Saturday, July 28, 2012

Drunken Poet

Last week I was in Melbourne for a couple of days, exchanging one cities' bleak, cold weather for another's. On Wednesday night I went down to the Drunken Poet in West Melbourne for a pint or two. Its unassuming doorway is on Peel Street, just across from the Vic Markets. Like The Phoenix in Canberra, this is a pub with more than a whiff of the Emerald Isle about it, but hasn't stooped to the level of embarrassing cliche as typified by franchise "Irish" pubs. This is probably about as real as it gets, outside of Ireland. Along with The Phoenix, of course...

Unlike the raucous, vibrant Phoenix, the Poet is well-ordered and quiet. It turns out to be a great place to sit and catch up with a mate, Guinness in hand. The live music isn't overbearing, so shouting at each other isn't necessary. Unless we fancy an argument. The service is friendly and easygoing, and the patrons are happy just to be there, leaving the outside world at the door. And why not?

First time there, definitely not the last...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Car crash

I'm walking home, enjoying the pale winter sunshine. Headphones on, enjoying the latest ECB podcast. I cross King William Street at the usual spot and proceed up to the Gilbert Street corner, just across from the old Brecknock (lying, soulless bastards).
Parklands, suburbs, home. Not long now.
I punch the pedestrian button and then look east to see if I can go early. No chance, there's a shiny white car hurtling towards me. I look back south towards where I am headed. What's this, another car entering the intersection? A shiny BMW. One of these two drivers has obviously not seen the red light. Oh dear. Immediately I am awake to the situation - an imminent vehicular altercation - but providence will play a greater role than anticipation & agility here.
The cars collide at speed. As luck would have it, both cars turn my way once they have smashed into each other, perhaps looking for a genuine kill. This is what I get for swearing so much. Should I have worn my brown trousers?
I'm standing there, looking, ready to leap into the air to avoid being offed. Just like Bruce Lee would. The white car smashes into the pedestrian light eight feet away from me and it pole-axes the innocent structure into the ground. The Beemer comes to rest about six feet in front of me. There's petrol, coolant, and bits of car everywhere.
The area is suddenly filled with people. People wanting to help, those who are curious, and a gaggle of cocksure boys with terrible hair and poorly-fitting suits wanting to take iPhone snaps. I just stand there. I eventually help one of the drivers to a safe spot and then stand there, again. What the f*ck just happened?
Normality slowly resumes, as people ask me if I'm OK, and I ask the same of myself. Not dead. Good, then. I wait around for about three-quarters of an hour, give the police my number and a quick statement and then head home.
I am still tingling as I ring Lynn and tell her that dinner might be a little later than expected.